The Murderer (Part I)

I take the murderer for coffee.

Make sure you don’t murder your coffee!’

I joke. He likes my jokes.

Later I swing a plank into his face:

This is to stop him enjoying himself —

Which is integral to the rehabilitation process.

His mouth trickles blood like a tap quarter-turned.

He likes my analogies. ‘Hey, Murderer!’

I yell, ‘Murdered anyone recently?’

The murderer likes to play badminton.

When he loses, I say, ‘That’s what you get for being a murderer.’

When he wins, I say,

I guess you got yourself in pretty good shape

Murdering all those people.’

I’m not about to let the murderer forget he’s a murderer.

When I dance with the murderer I let him lead

Because he is the more proficient dancer —

Just be careful not to murder me!’ I tease.

The prison sits on the horizon like a great ash-tray —

When we travel I give him the window seat.

Hey, murderer, would you like a sandwich?’ I say,

Or would you rather murder someone?’

The murderer eats his cheese and ham sandwich.

The forecast is for snow,’ I tell him.

from The Harbour Beyond the Movie (Salt, 2007, © Luke Kennard 2007), used by permission of the author and the publisher.

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